For the past month I have been driving around in a Ford Fusion Energi Plug In Hybrid Electric Vehicle via Driving on Energi. If you’ve never heard of a plug in hybrid, it basically means that it is an electric vehicle that switches over to a hybrid gas engine when the battery is drained. These types of cars have a bit of an edge over standard hybrids because they can make short trips entirely on battery, eliminating the need for fuel, and over electric only cars because they can run on gasoline making them gas efficient choices for longer travel.
The Ford Fusion Energi gets between 13-17 electric miles to the battery. After that you can enjoy getting roughly 42 MPG as a hybrid. Now that my time with the car is coming to an end I wanted to sit down and write a more in depth review of my time with the vehicle.
I drive a lot – not neccessarily at a distance all the time, but to and from meetings, school, after school activities, shopping, doctors, visiting family and so on. It pretty much feels like we live in our car (and if you ask my husband he’ll tell you it looks like we live in it too unfortunately). Right off the bat the Ford Fusion Energi impressed me. There were days when I could run errands without using a single drop of gas. What is typically a weekly trip to the gas station turned into a monthly trip. I was averaging about 17 miles to a charge with the heat running, enough to get me to the shopping center, the supermarket, my son’s tutor and home. It’s a really great feeling to be out all afternoon and come home with a still full tank of gas.
Since I was driving the car through the holidays I had a chance to let it stretch it’s legs on some longer trips as well. Three weekends straight we drove into another city to visit family, and one weekend found us in Manhattan with the car. Driving in hybrid mode I was averaging 46 MPG! We also found plenty of charging stations along the way, in parking garages, at train stations and even in shopping centers. With a few handy apps and the car’s charging station locator option in the GPS, we were able to find a place to charge up more often than not.
During the entire time that I had and drove the car I only went to a gas station twice, once to fill up from a quarter tank and once to top up an almost full tank before giving the car back. I think I spent a total of $20 in gas. Of course, there’s still a cost to an electric vehicle in terms of charging and electricity usage. When charging at an outdoor charging station your mileage will vary – some stations, especially in the city, will charge more than others. To get a full charge (two hours plugged in) it cost us anywhere from $1.90 – $2.75, depending on the station’s fees. At home we saw an increase in our electric bill of about $30.
We were charging the car overnight on a standard 120 volt outlet in our garage. Using 120 volt outlet will take about 8 hours to get a full charge, although you can cut that time in half if you have a 240 volt outlet available. High capacity chargers are also available and although you will need to make the investment in them, they can charge the car completely in under two hours, something that may be worthwhile for someone who makes frequent short trips out as you can almost avoid using fuel entirely.
Of course, a car is still a car, gas tank or not and at the end of the day you need the time you spend in your car to be comfortable. So let’s just talk about the interior for a moment. It is quiet. Especially running off of electric, but even once the gas engine kicks in you are still in for a very quiet ride – the car is well insulated from road noise. The Ford Fusion Energi uses Ford’s Sync system, which controls pretty much all the driver centric parts of the car. A few thoughts about Sync:
It is very user friendly. From setting up a phone to saving preset radio stations and using the GPS, everything is laid out really well and easy to use and find. The car has three screens, the main screen in the center console and two smaller screens in the dash area which provide additional information about the car or your trip. I love this feature because I was able to set one of the screens directly in front of me to display turn by turn GPS directions which proved really great for unfamiliar areas as I didn’t have to take my eyes off the road to stare at the navigation map. You can also view information about the car’s battery, charge and energy usage on those displays. I had absolutely zero issues using the SYNC and my only gripe would be that input is a little slow (typing in an address for example), but once you learn to be a little patient they system is very intuitive and feature packed.
The layout was great for me, with buttons for voice control and common functions easily accessible. The inside of the car is stylish and compliments the sporty looking exterior. And for anyone wondering if this can be a family car: we were able to fit all three kids, two of them in Britax car seats, in the back comfortably. The trunk was large enough for a compact stroller or a haul from BJ’s or Bed Bath & Beyond and there were plenty of USB charging ports for everyone’s iPads! One of my favorite things was school drop off. The school is a no idling zone, so in the winter it can get chilly sitting in the car once it’s off. However, being on the battery meant no exhaust while we stayed warm and toasty with the car running.
If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably seen me talking about this experience on twitter and facebook. The thing about doing a product review, or in this case a car review, is that readers don’t typically get to see just how much consideration goes into the products I choose to showcase. You’ll only find me blogging about products or things that I genuinely have an interest in from companies that I trust. This Ford Fusion Energi Review showcases that in the best way possible – because I put my money where my mouth is. After reviewing the Ford Fusion Energi for a month I loved it so much that I bought one. There was no incentive from Ford, no deal or special pricing (although I did get a great price and service from Smith Cairns Ford in Westchester, NY) – just simply me benefitting from an electric vehicle so much that I decided to make it permanent. The car hunt had been ongoing for me, as my minivan lease was up and I’d been test driving minivans and SUV’s for months. As my time with the Ford Fusion Energi came to an end I knew there wasn’t any other car that was going to live up to the cost savings, the comfort and driver-centric SYNC system, so the choice was pretty clear.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Ford Fusion Energi you can check out all of the features and find a licensed dealer on Ford’s website. Have you ever considered the benefit of an electric or plug in vehicle for your family?